Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a European country. The top five countries most similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina were occupied (at least in part) by the Ottomans at some point. Most of the people in these countries speak Slavic languages. In addition, four of the top five countries use the Cyrillic alphabet. The top four countries most similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina were all once part of Yugoslavia as well.
- Montenegro is to the south of Bosnia. Both countries speak Serbo-Croatian and have a mix of Christians and Muslims. Montenegro uses the Euro, even though it is not part of the European Union, while Bosnia’s currency has a hard peg to the Euro. However, Montenegro’s agriculture is quite different, since a large portion of their land is devoted to growing figs and grapes. This is because their climate is moderated by being located along the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, their people drink much more wine than Bosnians.
- Serbia is yet another country that speaks Serbo-Croatian. Like Bosnia, it uses both Cyrillic and Latin writing systems. A large part of Bosnia is made up of Republika Srpska, a large autonomous region that has most of the country’s ethnic Serbs. Both countries have little coastline and predominately grow corn. However, Serbia has a lower percentage of Muslims. Serbia also has closer political ties with Russia.
- Croatia, unlike other countries in Yugoslavia, was never completely taken over by the Ottomans, so it has less of a Muslim influence. Both countries are mountainous, although Croatia has far more coastline. It also has less of an Eastern European influence, since it is mostly Catholic and does not use the Cyrillic alphabet. Still, there is a large percentage of ethnic Croats living in Bosnia. Although both these countries are interested in basketball, soccer, handball, and water polo, Croatia has been far more successful in sports competitions, despite having a similar population.
- North Macedonia has the next highest percentage of Muslims of former Yugoslavian countries, with around 30%. Although the Macedonian language is similar to Serbo-Croatian, it is not mutually intelligible. Still, both countries generate power mostly with coal. Due to their mountainous terrain, they both also have many dams, which are used as water reservoirs and also create electricity. Both countries have a high amount of firearms per person.
- Bulgaria is the only country that was not part of Yugoslavia in the top five. It is another Slavic country that was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. One big difference is in sports. Bosnia has never won an Olympic medal, while Bulgaria has many. Bulgaria also isn’t as interested in handball or basketball as much as Bosnia. Bulgarians drink much more alcohol per person as well. While both countries have many Orthodox Christians, Bulgarians are far less religious than Bosnians.
- Slovenia, 7. Slovakia, 8. Albania, 9. Romania, 10. Poland
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina
Few countries are extremely different from Bosnia & Herzegovina, in part because it has a mix of Christians and Muslims. It also is neither an extremely wealthy or poor country. Four of the five least similar countries are border the Pacific Ocean. These countries all have significantly more coastline than Bosnia & Herzegovina. Furthermore, few people in these countries have Caucasian ancestry. Their people are also far less tall on average.
- Solomon Islands is located in Melanesia, nearly on the opposite side of the world from Bosnia. The tropical rainforest nation shares few things in common with it, since its demographics and culture are vastly different. It is mostly Protestant Christian. Their diet is also vastly different, since they eat far more sweet potatoes and coconuts. Its government is more democratic than Bosnia and it has more conservative laws.
- Papua New Guinea is very similar to the Solomon Islands. It is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to Bosnia. A large portion of the country is forested and a low percentage of the country has farmland. However, both countries are quite mountainous. Still, their technology is also quite different since they drive on the left, use Type I electrical outlets, and have narrow gauge railroad tracks.
- Singapore is another country located on a tropical island in the Pacific, so its geography is vastly different from Bosnia, which is nearly landlocked and quite mountainous. In contrast, Singapore is densely populated and filled with skyscrapers. Its people are far wealthier and its infrastructure is better developed. However, one similarity is that there is a significant percentage of both Muslims and Christians living in Singapore.
- Eritrea has a much hotter and drier climate than Bosnia & Herzegovina. In addition, most of its land is in close proximity to the Red Sea. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. It also has a unique language and writing system are completely different from Serbo-Croatian. Still, both countries have a mix of Muslims and Christians, although it does not have many Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christians.
- Cambodia is the least similar country to Bosnia & Herzegovina on the Asian mainland. Its terrain is flatter and its agriculture is focused on producing rice, not corn, since its climate is hotter and better. Its people are mostly Buddhist. According to the Lewis Model, they are also less outgoing than Bosnians. While both countries have a parliamentary system of government, Cambodia still has a monarch and its legislature is dominated by one party.
- Sudan, 7. Niger, 8. South Sudan, 9. Laos, 10. Myanmar
Bosnia is like if Montenegro was more like Nigeria
Not many countries are much more similar to Bosnia & Herzegovina than Montenergro, since they are quite similar countries. While Nigeria has little overall similarity to either of these countries, it does share significantly more characteristics with Bosnia & Herzegovina. Both countries are about evenly split between Muslims and Christians. Bosnia is also slightly less developed and less wealthy than Montenegro. Poland is another country with more similarity to Bosnia & Herzegovina than Montenegro. They both have a cooler climate and also more Catholics than Montenegro.
All data accurate as of 2020.